Here are the most common health problems that prevent pregnancy, plus tips on how to get pregnant.
They’re from The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant by Jean Twenge – it’s the newest, most comprehensive guidebook for pregnancy.
“Trying to get pregnant is very emotional and stressful because ultimately it’s out of our control,” writes Jean Twenge in The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant. “In an age of reliable birth control, we can now consciously decide to try to get pregnant. This gives us the illusion that getting pregnant is controllable.”
She says getting pregnant is partly luck, partly internal body mechanisms, and partly other uncontrollable factors. In , you’ll learn how to control what you can control to get pregnant, and how to cope with the common health problems that prevent pregnancy.
Here, I share one very small part of Twenge’s book: her tips for overcoming the most common problems that stop women from getting pregnant.
If you can’t wait to have your baby, read The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant. It’ll help you figure out what foods, vitamins, and “tools” you need to get pregnant quick and easy.
Most Common Health Problems That Prevent Pregnancy
“Not all of us have perfect cycles, youth on our side, or an easy time getting pregnant,” writes Twenge. “[Here] are some solutions to common problems you might encounter.”
Difficulty tracking your ovulation cycle
If you don’t know when you ovulate – or if your ovulation is irregular and unpredictable – you need to make sure you have a sensitive thermometer. Also, take your temperature at the same time each morning, to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples (or eggs to eggs, as it were).
“Also, use a fertility monitor or an ovulation predictor kit to see if you’re making lutenizing hormone, which usually triggers ovulation,” writes Twenge. “If you have very long cycles and think you might not be ovulating, see your doctor, who will likely prescribe Clomid.” This is a common problem preventing pregnancy that can be fairly easily remedied.
If you have difficult tracking your ovulation cycle, read One Type of Ovulation Calculator for Pregnancy – The Ovacue Fertility Monitor.
Ovulation, but your cycles are long
Twenge recommends following the fertility diet she describes in Chapter 2 of The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant. She also suggests charting your periods and using a fertility monitor to time sex for three cycles or so.
If you haven’t gotten pregnant in three or so months, talk to your doctor about Clomid. You may also need to be tested for PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
Short luteal phase
The luteal phase, also referred to as “days past ovulation” or “DPO”, is the part of the cycle that starts at ovulation and ends the day before your next period. It usually lasts about 14 days and does not vary by more than a day in each person.
If your luteal phase is short and you’ve been having problems getting pregnant for more than six months, Twenge recommends talking to your doctor to get a prescription for supplemental progesterone. She also suggests getting the other usual fertility tests to rule out other health problems that could prevent pregnancy.
“Old” age – over 35 years old
“Unless you’re over 42, odds are on your side that you’ll be able to get pregnant on your own within six months to a year,” writes Twenge in The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant. “Consider doing some fertility tests, particularly the semen analysis, before you start trying [to get pregnant].”
She also suggests getting a fertility monitor to make sure your timing doesn’t pose a problem or prevent pregnancy. If you want to get pregnant, Twenge recommends seeing your doctor for tests if you’ve been tracking your ovulation for six months.
No cervical mucus
Here’s a great step-by-step guide to checking your cervical mucus, from Fertile Cervical Mucus on about.com:
- Wash and dry your hands well.
- Find a comfortable position, either by sitting on the toilet, squatting, or standing up and putting one leg up on the bathtub edge or toilet seat.
- Reach one finger inside your vagina; your index or middle finger is probably best. (Be careful not to scratch yourself.) Depending on how much cervical mucus you’re producing, you may not need to reach so far, but getting a sample from near your cervix is ideal.
- Observe the consistency of whatever mucus you find. Do this by both looking at the mucus and rolling what you find between two fingers (usually your thumb and index finger). Also, try pressing your fingers together and then slowly moving them apart.
If what you find seems sticky, or findings are scant, you’re probably not ovulating yet. If it’s creamy, ovulation may be coming, but not just yet. If what you find is wet, watery, and slightly stretchy, ovulation is very likely close. Find time for some baby-making sex.
If it’s very wet, stretches between your fingers for an inch or more, and resembles raw egg white, your cervical mucus is very fertile. Ovulation is right around the corner, and it’s the ideal time for intercourse.
In The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant, Twenge suggests trying PreSeed if you haven’t found any cervical mucus – because lack of cervical mucus is a health problem that could prevent pregnancy.
Abnormal semen analysis results
My most popular article is 5 Foods to Increase Sperm Count, Production, and Motility because problems getting pregnant are just as often a male health problem! We assume it’s women’s health problems that prevent pregnancy, but we’re wrong.
If your partner’s sperm test shows abnormal results, talk to his doctor. You may have to consider IUI (intrauterine insemination) or even IVF (in vitro fertilization).
Twenge also briefly mentions blocked fallopian tubes, uterine fibroids, and hypothyroidism. If you have these health problems and think it’s preventing you from getting pregnant, please talk to your ob-gyn or fertility doctor in person.
For more pregnancy tips, read The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant. Twenge describes the newest fertility research and offers compassion and insight into the emotional roller coaster of trying to get pregnant. Her book is easy-to-understand and easy-to-read – and often very funny!